May I state for the record that I don’t think I’ve ever used that many ampersands in anything. Ever.
Robert Culp was no stranger to the antics of Mad Magazine, having been spoofed at least four times (that I’m aware of), for I Spy, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Columbo and The Greatest American Hero. Previously I featured the 1973 Mad satire on the popular detective series Columbo (called “Clodumbo“) which included Dr. Robert Culpable as the poor unfortunate sap that gets pestered by the lieutenant to the point he confesses to a crime he didn’t commit just to make the lieutenant go away. Now, we go back three years prior, to 1970, and the spoof of the 1969 film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
May I add that Culp looks cute here as a caricature? All shy and innocent lookin’, holding the blanket up, just like he is in the movie…
Ah, well…ok, maybe not quite!
The same art is not used for the storyboard. Instead the storyboard is drawn by the legendary Mort Drucker (who also did the I Spy spoof for Mad in 1967). Drucker’s drawing of Culp this time around although recognizable, is at times more outrageous than anything.
Square jaw? Check. Big teeth? Got it. Hippie hair? Plenty. In the first panel though, where “Boob” and “Carnal” are being introduced to the Institute, “Boob” looks suspiciously more like Alan Alda.
This is indeed a satire of the movie. Sometimes searing, other times goofy but a complete and total farce. Take a look for yourself! Keep your eye out for Bill Cosby to appear in a couple of the panels just for the heck of it. Also note the additional names added to the title that run around the whole storyboard.
It’s one thing when Mad Magazine spoofs the movie or TV show you’re a star of. Obviously, you’re going to be spoofed too. But it’s a whole other honor to be included in the spoof of a show that you were a guest star on!
In its 60 year history, Mad Magazine has spared no television series, movie or pop culture du jour from its lampooning antics (not to mention politicians and any other public figures). Back in 1973, the popular series Columbo wasn’t spared either, getting the royal Mad treatment in “Clodumbo.”
The story line ran similar to an episode of the show, with a Mad Magazine twist of course. The story opens with Clodumbo annoying the hell out of the Police Commissioner and the rest of the department wishing for a homicide so Clodumbo can go and annoy somebody else. Lo and behold, they get a report of a homicide, which has taken place at the house of Dr. Robert Culpable.
If the name wasn’t blatantly obvious, the excellent art work by Angelo Torres is. Robert Culp, who had appeared on two Columbo episodes by the time this issue of Mad hit newsstands in January of 1973, was given the dubious honor of being portrayed as Clodumbo’s prime suspect. (And honestly, who could’ve resisted using the name “Culpable” anyway?). Dr. Culpable is drawn much like how Culp appeared as Detective Brimmer in 1971’s “Death Lends a Hand” with the striped shirt and square glasses. As another nod to that episode, Clodumbo goes to leave and walks into a closet by mistake, just as Columbo did.
And like Columbo on the series, Clodumbo aggravates Dr. Culpable to the Nth degree. Only unlike Robert Culp, who played the guilty party with aplomb, Dr. Culpable was innocent and ended up confessing to a crime he didn’t commit, just to get the pestering Lieutenant to leave him alone!
Take a look for yourself! You can click the thumbnails to view larger images.